January 28, 2011

Extra Reading for Chapter 3

Posted in BADM 720 tagged , , , , at 6:12 pm by Sarah

Dweck’s Article

In her article “Can Personality Be Changed?”, Carol Dweck spends a lot of time talking about the role of our beliefs about our learning in our personality.  I can’t say I’ve ever put too much thought into whether we are born with a certain level of intelligence or whether it can grow with our experience.  My experiences as a student, however, have been widely varied, and my thoughts about education and learning have changed with them. 

For example, as a high school student I excelled in most of my classes, except for one: senior-year Calculus.  In the previous few years I had been having more and more trouble with my math classes, and had developed a sort of mental block.  I thought I was simply not good at math and never would be, and unsurprisingly, I barely made it through Calculus.

As I progressed through my general and diversity courses in college, I was exposed to a great variety of interesting subjects, and frequently found myself in the position of being a raw beginner in the discipline.  But my interest in these new subjects kept me engaged and working hard to understand them, leading me to great academic success.  I graduated college with the idea that a lack of knowledge can always be overcome by thorough study.  That feeling of confidence is returning to me as I begin my graduate studies, and so far, so good!

Sutton’s Blog

Bob Sutton’s blog post on the subject of this article brought to light an important implication of Dweck’s research for those of us in a business setting.  I find it highly plausible that believing in our brains’ ability to learn and grow makes us more receptive to learning new things and tackling new challenges.  As an employee, I actually have no idea what my supervisor believes about this, but I definitely see how a manager can help employees develop the attitude that they can do anything they set their minds to.

January 22, 2011

“Teaching Smart People How to Learn” by Chris Argyris

Posted in BADM 720 tagged , at 5:57 pm by Sarah

This first reading, in a nutshell, explains that the typical business professional is a highly educated person who has had very little exposure to failure or criticism, and does not know how to react to the feelings that they bring up.  The author argues that these people use defensive reasoning to remove blame from themselves, thus depriving themselves of the chance to learn from the experience.  I found this article very interesting, not only because I am fascinated by human behavior, but also because it was very easy for me to see how I might carry this knowledge over to my own work experience and help myself become a more desirable employee.

While reading, I found myself constantly thinking about experiences I have had at work.  In order to be more productive, as the author suggests, I started trying to think objectively about my role in those episodes and how I could learn from them.  This is difficult because it’s uncomfortable to dwell on my own mistakes, but if I want to improve, it has to be done.  I do feel, however, that my experience as a musician makes this a bit easier.  As a student learning to write and perform music, I was constantly exposed to constructive criticism from teachers and classmates.  In order to grow as a musician, I had to consider these suggestions, try them out in practice, and then turn improvements into part of the routine.

My only concern with trying to carry this openness over into my current job is the author’s suggestion that this kind of change within an organization has to start at the top and filter down.  I can only guess at whether the managers above me have been exposed to this author’s thinking; however, if I want to take these ideas to heart and really improve myself, I can’t wait for their permission.  I have gotten to know my immediate supervisor well enough that I think he will appreciate my willingness to learn and my ability to handle constructive criticism, even if it takes him a while to get comfortable with the idea of not needing to coddle me.

January 21, 2011

New WordPress Blog

Posted in Uncategorized at 7:09 pm by Sarah

Hi there, my name is Sarah, and this is my first post.  I will be using this blog (at least at first) to post comments regarding the reading assignments for my BADM 720 class.  Stay tuned for fascinating insights!